A Hard Lesson to Learn

 “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him” – John Piper


For several weeks upon my return home I struggled to come up with an efficient response to the question “How was your trip?” Expecting to be asked this often, I consulted missionary friends and my family on a proper one-sentence response to such a complex question. Because, lets face it, every person you encounter either A. Wants to just hug your neck and hear a one or two sentence answer to suffice their curiosity, B. Wants to just hear the highlights from your time away, or C. Wants to hear every little detail of your days/weeks/months overseas.

After much deliberation, the short and unimaginative answer I came up with was “It was great. The Lord taught me a lot.” This left it open-ended, allowing the inquisitor to decide if my answer was enough information for them or if they wanted to hear more. However, to my surprise, I rarely had to utter those words. I was startled to find out that the majority of people I encountered never asked me about my trip but instead either told me they were glad I was home or asked me if I was glad to be home. This left me confused and, quite frankly, frustrated.

I had moved my life to the other side of the world, and few people seemed to care.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there were several people who did care and wanted to hear all about what the Lord had taught me, but I would not say that they were in the majority. Maybe it was because people thought I was sick of being asked about it, maybe they felt as if they knew all they needed to know about my life because of social media, or maybe they didn’t know WHAT to say to me, I wasn’t sure. But people seemed to only want to know if I was glad to be back home.

And then the Lord convicted me.

There I was expecting people to pay attention to me, to be invested in my life over the past five months, and God used what felt like apathy on their part to teach me a hard lesson about my own self-righteousness.

You see, I have spent the past several years attempting to steer clear of the path of self-righteousness and entitlement. It is a complete turn off to me. Especially when it comes to missions. It is very easy to fall into the “You-guys-just-don’t-understand-there-are-starving-kids-in-Africa” mode. So since it has always been on my radar, it was not something I was expecting to struggle with. But it slipped in there somehow. Through feeling forgotten and unappreciated, pride just snuck its way in. This is how the enemy works, you know. He lies and twists things. He attacks emotions. He distracts.

So I had to work through it, and I still do. Any time I sense that feeling of entitlement rising up, I have to go back to the throne and give it back to Christ. Because He is the only righteous One worthy of any entitlement. And I should only be motivated by His glory and His name, not the approval or interest of others.

<< Oh That You Would Take Your Glory, LORD. >>

PS: I cannot expect you all to know this, because I didn’t fully grasp it until I moved here, but since then I have learned that missionaries truly need support from home. Ask us how we are doing. Send an email or a card or a care package in the mail. Celebrate the small victories and the big ones with us. And PRAY for us. Because sometimes it can feel as if we are out here on our own, and that is when we need the body of Christ the most.

PPS: Consider this me wanting to hear about YOUR life, too. I don’t just want you to email or write me to see how I am doing, I want to make this a conversation! 

2 thoughts on “A Hard Lesson to Learn

  1. Love this, Hayley and how honestly you are. I’m disappointed I didn’t get to see you while you were home, but I probably would’ve been guilty of just a smile and wave. However, thanks for making me aware of your need of conversation and encouragement. Your sweet and beautiful face is on our prayer board at home (for everyone to see when they walk in the door). The card serves as a reminder for us to pray for you, along with the hungry and lost people of Africa – and we do!
    Missions isn’t an area I’ve been called to serve in the field, but the Lord has definitely laid you (and other missionaries) on my heart to pray for specifically. You do the work that many of us can’t and for that I’m in awe. It’s really amazing to see how the Lord uses you and others overseas and at home too.

  2. Enjoyed hearing your heart, Hayley. You wrote this so beautifully and i feel i understand a little better how God is using and working through you. You are a blessed young woman indeed, and I am proud to know you.
    Jackie Byrd

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